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Environment Activists To Hold Protest Against Miżieb-Aħrax Handover To Hunters

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Environmental activists are set to stage a protest against the controversial deal that granted a hunting lobby the management of two Mellieħa woodlands, Miżieb and Aħrax.

“People are outraged at what the government has been doing to Malta’s and Gozo’s natural and cultural heritage,” the event description reads.

Organised by Spazji Miftuħa, a coalition of 60 organisations that includes Birdlife and Moviment Graffitti, the socially distanced demonstration will take place on Saturday 31st October at 10am outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

They’re asking anyone who values nature, culture and open spaces to join and to bring placards and signs.

The deal in question saw Cabinet hand over the management of Miżieb and Aħrax to hunting lobby FKNK, the details of which weren’t divulged to the public until after it was signed.

Following public outcry, the signing of the agreement was done in secret, two days before a protest was set to take place at Miżieb. No press call was issued.

Protestors went ahead and staged a socially distanced sit-down in the woodland at the time and spot where the deal was originally meant to be signed.

The contract gives the FKNK rights over the management and upkeep of the two woodlands and forbids public access during specific times of day during the spring and autumn hunting seasons. The FKNK is also obliged to set up picnic areas for the general public.

In a Lovin Malta exclusive, BirdLife President Darryl Grima called the Memorandum of Understanding which the FKNK argues entitles them to the woodlands a “land grab”, while Head of Conservation Nik Barbara warned of dead birds activists found around Miżieb.

However, FKNK PRO Lucas Micallef called for better cooperation between hunters and environmental groups. He also invited the general public to visit the area and stay on the footpaths for safety.

 

Meanwhile, over 30,000 people have signed a petition calling for the land to remain public, while the Nationalist Party has denounced the government’s “arrogance” in signing the deal before it could get scrutinised.

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